10 Ways to Embrace Change
Blindsided by a job loss, the author learned that the unfamiliar isn’t to be feared: It can be a chance to turn your life around.
1. Don't just do something; sit there. If you’re facing a massive rescaling of your life, your first impulse will be to go into a whirring spin of activity, which is exactly what I did right after I was fired. I later discovered there’s a lot of value to sitting quietly instead. In the realm of language learning, there’s a stage called the silent period: Adults may try to avoid going through it, but if you take a kid and plop her down in Paris for a spell, she’ll naturally clam up for a few months. When she opens her mouth, her French will have flowered. Making sense of a major change is a lot like that. You need to allow yourself a fallow period before you can blossom.
2. Mother yourself a little. When familiar routines suddenly dissolve, it can seem as if all your supports are gone. For a while after I lost my job, I had the sense that I was in free fall. It’s crucial, while absorbing the shock of the new, to make yourself feel well taken care of. Prepare nutritious meals for the week ahead. If you can spare the cash, have someone come in and clean the house. Yes, you need to take some time for yourself, but don’t let the pizza boxes pile up.
3. Ignore your inner reptile. There’s a part of the human mind that is often referred to as the “lizard brain,” because it existed in even the earliest land animals. The lizard brain is concerned with survival; it likes the tried and true, so it’s likely to pipe up right now, flooding you with adrenaline warnings of “Danger!” as you veer off course. This was a handy function to have when deviating from the familiar path to the watering hole may have led to an encounter with a saber-toothed tiger. But in the modern world it’s like a misfiring car alarm: pointless and annoying.